Navigating between the Clashing Rocks: Employee relations in the era of Covid-19

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Chapter And Authors Information

Eleni Triantafillidou

Democritus University of Thrace, Greece

Theodore Koutroukis

Democritus University of Thrace, Greece
Navigating between the Clashing Rocks: Employee relations in the era of Covid-19
From the Edited Volume
Edited By:
Prof. Bhavna Mehta
Content

Abstract

The complex and dynamic relationship between employers and employees is being tested due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The era of the Covid-19 pandemic created a new way of living imposing physical distancing, social isolation, increased workplace safety measures and decreased economic activities. Local governments introduced and applied measures to reduce the dispersion and transmission rate of the virus that affected both employers and employees. We explore the impact of Covid-19 on employee relations and HRM by addressing the research question: “How Covid-19 pandemic impact on employee relations?’’ Employees during the period of lockdown expressed fear for the virus, confusion and experienced insecurity as during the lockdown they were preoccupied for the survival of their organization. Employee’s voice is more difficult to be heard due to the pandemic, especially when there is no physical presence in the workplace. We explore the impact of Covid-19 on employee relations and the created changes that are to be considered in Human Resource Management practices in the Covid-19 era. We suggest that Organizations need to manage external crisis and remain adaptive and alert and find solutions to problems and challenges arising due to coronavirus. Human Resource Management function now should focus in helping employee’s adjustment to the new created situation deriving from coronavirus. Besides, HR managers, HR consultants and Organizations need to rethink, redesign, redefine their roles, adopt new practices and create initiatives such as counseling services to reduce the fear and insecurity and enhance the health and wellbeing of employees.

Keywords

employee relations, human resource management, Covid-19

1. Introduction
Covid-19 pandemic changed the way that people work and a lot of employees have to reinvent the way they work. Some employees now need to work harder, others can only work remotely and others have lost their jobs. The main changes due to coronavirus are different work conditions, distance management and new competencies of managers, crisis management, different work of teams and use of modern technologies, new ways of distant HR practices, training and education of employees using technologies, different approach towards generations, information and data security, lowering of salaries and wages, necessity for requalification, risk of job loss, communication and building relationships, employer branding, safety and security, health protection, employee fluctuation and changes in structure of employees, psychological aspects like employee fear and depressions (Tumagole, 2020; Vnoučková, 2020). Organizational-level impacts due to coronavirus concern layoffs and human resource pool, remote work, health and safety and HR scenario planning, employee-level impacts that affect employee voice and hazard pay, and team-level impacts affecting the ability of employees for collaboration (Akingbola, 2020). Among the main challenges for companies that act in more than one country due to Covid-19 are cross-border distance, reduced international mobility and intra-firm distancing challenges. International HRM in order to handle Covid-19 crisis need to rethink the procedures of selection, training and employee support. Besides, changes arise in the International leadership of multinationals as there is need to increase virtual international collaboration, manage global uncertainty, facilitate global work and redefine strategic position and performance (Caligiuri et al., 2020). Legal aspects on employee relations due to Covid-19 should also be taken into consideration as protecting the employees in workplace introducing preventing measures that protect employees from being infected by the virus as safety and hygiene rules, keeping safety distances, avoiding physical meetings, smart-working and tele-working. Among the crucial issues that arise and need to be handled is also personal data protection of employees. Employee engagement during the lockdown due to the Covid-19 is also important and measures need to be taken by to Human Resource managers and Employee relation managers in the period of lockdown to engage employees. Sustaining good employee relations during coronavirus crisis will positively affect job satisfaction, organizational commitment and engagement, employee motivation, organizational trust and justice, improving employee and organizational performance. (Chanana and Sangeeta, 2020; Gaurav, 2020; Kaushik and Guleria, 2020; Kooij, 2020; Kumar et al., 2020). The purpose of this study is to explore the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on employee relations and the created changes that are to be considered in Human Resource Management practices in the Covid-19 era. The study is structured according to the following diagram (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Overview of employee relations in the era of Covid-19

Source: Survey data analysis

2. Research method

This chapter aims to review prior research and provide an overview on the impacts of Covid-19 pandemic on employee relations and HRM. An effort is made to help practitioners and researchers taking steps to manage and moderate negative effects of Covid-19 pandemic using evidence based roadmaps. The chapter focuses on effects of Covid-19 on Organizations, employees, HRM, labor relations and intends to be comprehensive although some aspects of these issues may have unintentionally excluded. The study follows bottom up, deductive and descriptive approach by searching, collecting and analyzing secondary data from publications, research papers, articles, books, and industry publications that examine the impact of Covid-19 on employee relations and human resource management. The main research tool of this study is analyzing and reviewing the literature as the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on employee relations and HRM is an emerging new topic that lacks empirical investigations and has not yet undergone a thorough, in-depth review of the literature (Torraco, 2005). Theoretical contents and empirical evidence support arguments and explanations of this study. Besides, the study highlights case evidences and best practices in specific issues related to employee relationship management in the era of Covid-19. In the tough time of Covid-19 pandemic sustaining good employee relations is vital for all the Organizations. Employers, HR departments, HR consultants and employee relations experts need to redefine their roles, adopt new practices and create initiatives to reduce the fear and insecurity and enhance the health and wellbeing of employees.

3. Employee relations in the era of Covid-19

3.1. Covid-19 impact on Organizations

Covid-19 outbreak affected the great majority of Organizations all over the world. The top reported problems of most Organizations are decrease in consumer demand for products and services, reduction in sales, reduction in profit, reduction in production, financial fragility, transportation, delays or closure in supply-chain, and increased employee absences. (Shafi, Liu and Ren, 2020). Among the biggest impacts on Organizations concerning the potential spread of coronavirus are the economic downturn and impact on business financial standing, drop in consumer spending, restrictions on gatherings, events, and personal movement, health-related employee absences, supply chain and/or vendor issues, reduction in credit/lending. (NSBA, 2020). To address the coronavirus crisis most businesses adopted strategies like partially or completely closing of the business, reducing the travelling, changing the business line and working remotely as much as possible. Most Organizations are struggling to survive, preparing plans to handle coronavirus crisis. Among the plans to tackle the cash flow shortage are laying off employees, making reductions in staff salary, applying for a loan and appealing to the government for assistance (Shafi, Liu and Ren, 2020). The most significant challenges to the future growth and survival of Organizations are the economic uncertainty, the decline in customer spending, the lack of available capital, the lack of qualified workers, the cost of employee salaries, the cost of health insurance contributions, the regulatory burdens, the taxes, the cost of technology, and the foreign competition (NSBA, 2020). According to Akingbola (2020), the main organizational-level impacts concern layoffs and human resource pool, remote work, health and safety and HR scenario planning. A suggested policy framework includes the care for the health and safety of employees, information accuracy and responsible communication, telecommuting and flexible working, cooperation with other firms and exploring of new opportunities, social dialogue between employers and workers Organizations, preplanning and learning from experience, building resilience capability, and encouraging positive employee relationships to enhance resilience during crisis. (Shafi, Liu and Ren, 2020). Carnevale and Hatak (2020), also underline that Organizations need to manage external crisis and remain adaptive and alert and find solutions to problems and challenge arising due to coronavirus, and focus in the role of Human Resource Management in helping employees in well-being and adjustment to the new working environment.

3.2. Covid-19 impact on employees

Employee-level impacts of Covid-19, affect employee voice and hazard pay, and team-level impacts affecting the ability of employees for collaboration (Akingbola, 2020). Costa and Tumagole (2020), analyze employees’ experiences during the period of lockdown. Employees expressed fear for the virus, confusion and insecurity for the impact of Covid-19 as during the lockdown they were preoccupied for the survival of their Organization. Brooks et al., (2020) analyze stressors and psychological consequences of Covid-19 and quarantine. The main stressor factors are the duration of quarantine, the fear of infection, frustration and boredom, inadequate basic supplies, inadequate information, financial loss, and stigma for those being infected. The psychological consequences include stress disorders, anxiety, irritability, poor concentration, exhaustion, insomnia, indecisiveness and deterioration of work performance. Kniffin et al (2020), analyze changes in work practices, changes for employees and the moderating factors. Changes in work practices include working from home, virtual teamwork and virtual leadership and management. Changes affecting employees are social-psychological, health-related and economic including (a) employees working virtual or remote, (b) essential employees who continue to work in their workplace and (c) employees who are laid off temporarily or permanently. Other changes affecting employees are unemployment and inequality, health and well-being and loneliness and social distancing. Besides factors as demographic characteristics (age, gender, individual family status), individual differences and organizational norms moderate to these changes. Gaurav (2020), suggests a framework for employee engagement during the lockdown due to the Covid-19 and measures to be taken by to Human Resource managers and Employee relation managers in the period of lockdown to engage employees. Kumar et al. (2020), examine the relation between employee voice and employee engagement during Covid-19 lockdown. Findings show that employee voice behavior is positive correlated to trust in senior management in the Covid-19 lockdown situation, trust in senior management is positively correlated to employee engagement in the Covid-19 lockdown and employee voice behavior is positively correlated to employee engagement in the Covid-19 lockdown situations. Kaushik and Guleria (2020), study the impact of Covid-19 on employee relations and engagement. They argue that good employee relations increase the productivity and performance of both employee and Organization. Employee commitment and engagement is affected due to the Covid-19, and this has a negative impact on employee relations as there is poor communication or lack of face-to-face interactions. They conclude that there is need to maintain a good relationship with employees through communication and interaction and helping them not only in the technological domain but also in engaging and retaining them during this Covid-19 period. Elsafty and Ragheb (2020), examine the relationship between workplace guideline and support, access to information and financial benefits, health related factors and quality of life, communication and promoting message (as independent variables) and retention of employees in the Covid-19 Pandemic (dependent variable). Findings show that access to information updates on pandemic and financial benefits are crucial factors that increase retention of employees during Covid-19 pandemic. Shan and Tang (2020), point out the value creation of employee satisfaction during Covid-19. They correlated employee satisfaction to stock price reaction during Covid-19 finding out that companies with high employee satisfaction outperform companies with low employee satisfaction in terms of stock price reaction. The findings of this study underline the importance of employee morale during coronavirus crisis. This is among the first studies on the financial impact of COVID-19.

3.3. Covid-19 impact on trade unions and participation

Firouzi-Naeim and Rahimzadeh (2020), emphasize on the role of trade unions in relation to efforts for the control of COVID-19 such as decreasing economic activity and increasing workplace safety measures. This study provides evidence of positive externalities for union-employees compared with non-union employees and suggests that a 10% increase in unionization in the United States would lead to 54,213 fewer cases of COVID-19 100 days after the onset of the virus. Additionally, when the intensive margin of labor supply is controlled, this effect is even more substantial. According to the study, while unions provide a safer workplace in terms of COVID-19, union-employees, compared to non-union employees, increase their labor supply. Child (2020), analyzes the contributions and enabling conditions of Organizational participation in post-covid society. The forms of organizational participation analyzed are co-determination, joint consultation, workplace self-management and employee involvement. The contributions of participation in post-covid society are social and economic particularly related to productivity, innovation and the effectiveness of managing. The enabling conditions for co-determination and workplace self-management are divided into three categories: (1) public policy provisions, legislation (2) the enhancement of human capital including schemes to train workers and stakeholder representatives (3) firm or micro-level factors, including managerial initiatives.

3.4. Covid-19 impact on HRM

Caligiuri et al. (2020), analyze the impact of Covid-19 to International Human Resource Management. Among the main challenges for Multinational Companies due to Covid-19 are cross-border distance, reduced international mobility and intra-firm distancing challenges. International HRM in order to handle Covid-19 crisis need to rethink the procedures of selection, training and employee support. Besides, changes arise in the international leadership of multinationals, there is need to increase virtual international collaboration, manage global uncertainty, facilitate global work and redefine strategic position and performance. Vnoučková (2020) outlines changes that are to be considered in Human Resource Management practices in the Covid-19 era. More specifically the main changes are: different work conditions, distance management and new competencies of managers, crisis management, different work of teams and use of modern technologies, new ways of distant HR practices, training and education of employees using technologies, different approach towards generations, information and data security, lowering of salaries and wages, necessity for requalification, risk of job loss, communication and building relationships, employer branding, safety and security, health protection, employee fluctuation and changes in structure of employees, psychological aspects like employee fear and depressions. Bierema (2020) proposes a new framework for human resource development research and practice after coronavirus that includes engagement on issues related to organization and social justice and reject unjust, unhealthy, unsustainable and exclusionary practices, globally “humanly sustainable work practices” and shift to remote work and policies for learning and development without racism, new leadership paradigms and development of new leaders, elimination of resistance to diversity by building inclusive Organizations.
– Leadership and organizational culture
In the era of Covid-19 pandemic changes are not moving linearly but quickly and exponentially. To address the Covid-19 pandemic changes the suitable type of leadership is the transformational leadership as this model contributes to employees and leader cooperation to achieve goals (Sukoco et al., 2020). Dirani et al. (2020), analyze five roles of leaders during the coronavirus crisis and how HR can provide support to these roles during the crisis. The roles of leaders are (1) sense-maker leader by providing support and guidance to employees, (2) technology enabler leader, (3) emotional stability and employee well-being Leaders, (4) innovative communication leader, (5) maintain financial health of the organization Leader. According to Sukoco, Evitha,Hermanto and Herawati (2020), crucial factors to optimize HR results during the pandemics are employee engagement, employee enablement and the development of transformational leadership. Employee enablement ensures employee engagement and consists of: (a) performance management, (b) authority and empowerment, (c) a supportive work environment, (d) training employees, (e) collaboration, (f) work, structure and process. Li, Liu, Mai and Zhang, (2020) underline the role of strong corporate culture to address coronavirus crisis. Organizations with a strong corporate culture can better manage the coronavirus crisis and emphasize more in employee engagement and adoption of digital technologies and less in cost cutting practices. They proved that Organizations with strong culture achieved higher sales and lower cost of goods sold per employee.

– Employee engagement during Covid-19
It is essential that employees feel motivated and committed to the Organization in the era of Covid-19. The majority of employees are stressed due to Covid-19 and feel insecure about their health, their job, their salary and their future. These thoughts may negatively affect job performance as employees is difficult to concentrate on their job. Consequently, Organizations and HR management departments have to focus on engaging employees in the difficult time of Covid-19 so that employees remain productive, efficient and committed to the goals of the Organization. Among the best practices to engage employees in the tough times of Covid-19 are the use of multimedia platforms for communication (e-mail, messaging platforms, video conferencing, social networks in virtual communities), webinars and live sessions, e-learning opportunities, digital learning programs, live sessions for e-skill building, online courses e-bools, provision of resources for professional growth (e-development of employees), team meet-ups, e-collaboration, weekly assignment sessions, virtual meetings, Other innovative practices include e- team gathers for lunch, hiring fitness trainers to keep employees committed through podcasts, virtual challenges and competitions like a share of a selfie with the family or a picture with your pet, online game sessions and online counseling services for employees to reduce their stress and anxiety and stay safe and healthy. Special care should also be given on older employees who are vulnerable. Recent studies show that older employees are more likely to comply with preventive measures against Covid-19 and now advance their technological skills as they need to work from home which means that they can be prepared for future technological requirements of work (Kooij, 2020). Besides, it is important that Organizations are transparent, inform employees about the situation and their plans, empower and assure them so they do not feel stressed and worried about their job, and provide an open environment on which employees could express their voice when problems arise. Organizations that concern about their employees’ well-being and enhance employee morale create a culture of openness and engage remote employees who are digital ready for the future and can generate new and creative ideas (Chanana and Sangeeta, 2020).
– Covid-19 impact on tele-working
Kaushik (2020), analyzes the factors affecting work from home, advantages and disadvantages of working at home and the impact of Covid-19 on employee performance of working from home. Besides, the study suggests that HR managers, HR consultants and employees need to rethink, redesign, redefine 9their roles, adopt new practices and think out of the box. Pouliakas (2020), explores determinants and trends of remote work in Greece using multivariate regression equation models. According to the study, the country exploited the situation of coronavirus crisis to increase the opportunities of adoption of digital technologies in several activities concerning economy and society. To further explore digitalization requires commitment and investments by Organizations, individuals and the government. Besides, for small and medium sized enterprises working remotely is a flexible option to facilitate social distancing rules and remain competitive. This requires investments in high-skilled employees and supportive regulatory environment and policies that facilitate tele-working. Brynjolfsson and Horton (2020), report the results of a US nationally-representative sample of population that investigates the adaption of US labor force to Covid-19 pandemic. Specifically, one third of labor force switched to remote work on April 2020. These switches to remote work can be predicted by the state level Covid-19 infection rates and it is more probable for younger people to switch to remote work. Business need reorganization and employees need to adapt ways of working remotely. Pandemic seems to have change the nature of remote work in the long-term.

3.5. Legal aspects of Covid-19 on the employment relationship

The outbreak of a new coronavirus disease is declared by the World Health Organization declared as a global pandemic and as a Public Health Emergency of international concern, and legally can be treated as a force majeure event. Organizations, could advise an expert in order to plan and apply a policy that provides measures and best practices to protect employees and minimize the risk of being infected by the virus. The preventing measures include keeping hygiene rules at the workplace and safety distances among employees in the offices, prohibition of working for employees who have any kind of symptom related to Covid-19 disease, avoid of physical meetings and replace them to tele-meetings and reduction of business travels. Although there is no co-determination right concerning health and safety measures, social dialogue between employers and employee representatives could help improving Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) measures, including hygiene procedures, provision of protective equipment and establishment of alternative forms of work organization. To this point, the role of OSH committees is vital. Besides, Organizations shall communicate with employees, employee representatives and trade unions, and provide information about the situation, the preventing measures adopted to address it, and managerial decisions that impact on employment relationships, and on the business organization. Several specific agreements aiming at reduction of the employment costs could be negotiated with employee representatives and trade unions. Besides, flexible working arrangements as remote working are encouraged if possible. Remote working or tele-working is a type of employment relationship in which employees work from home or outside of the office making use of information technology. Remote working cannot be a reason for differentiated treatment of employees. Generally, it is important that any kind of employee discrimination and exclusion due to Covid-19 situation is prevented and access to health services is provided to employees and their families. Organizations, are also entitled to set annual and collective leave and depending on the plans of the Organization could implement a collective leave for either a proportion of employees or all of them as a part of preventing measures against Covid-19. Another category of protective measures concerns the facilitation and support to working parents in places where nurseries and schools are closed and employees that care for the elderly family members. Employers in case that an employee is suspected to be infected or is infected shall keep the employee at home, take measures to limit the risk of infection of other employees, report the case to local authorities, and assure the pay of employers that are sick or quarantined according the local law. Organizations and employers could also take advantage of programs implemented by local governments and laws that support businesses and their employees from the impacts of Covid-19. Another issue is the protection of health data of employees. Health data is a special category of personal data and it is recommended that the collection of them is limited to the necessary in order to fulfil the purpose for which they are collected. Employees should be notified about the collection and the processing of their health data and employers should not disclose any health data of their employees to others unless this is required by the law. (AlSherif , 2020; ILO, 2020; Moresco, 2020).
4. Resilience and empowerment in the context of the Covid-19 crisis
Covid 19 has affected the quantity of jobs, the quality of work, as well as the employment relations (ILO, 2020). On the one hand, the pandemic has caused poor human relations due to lack of meetings and interactions among colleagues and/or partners within enterprises. On the other hand, Covid-19 may deliberate illegal practices to avoid changes in regulating employment relations and hiring bans. In those turbulent circumstances, many firms have tried to transform the legal status of employment relationship to a B2B relation between a company and an independent contractor in order to reduce taxes, regulations, and employer’s commitments to the employees. Nevertheless, the parties in the employment relation have declared a common will to continue a more cooperative relation during the post-Covid-19 period. Thus, a vital recommendation by the International Labour Organization is that policy makers should implement recovery strategies based on social dialogue procedures, promoting the transition to a more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable world of work (ILO, 2021). As a matter of fact, tripartite concertation is facing huge challenges in the new labour market landscape as well. Especially the venture of working from home during the last months of the pandemic has become the new normal for many bread-earners. Teleworkers have pointed out the feeling that they are doing a useful job and that they are isolated (Eurofound, 2020). Moreover, several voiced fears that a part of the costs will be undertaken by the home-based workers (i.e., cost of equipment, expenses for an internet connection etc.). From the rest of the workers, an improvement of occupational safety and health (OSH) measures including organizational changes, avoiding crowding, and providing of protective equipment is needed. The urgent necessity for social distancing provisions has obliged many companies to decentralize their functions in certain regional business units. At the micro-level, the Covid-19 pandemic has encouraged the implementation of flexible working arrangements through a rapid consultation. Current working conditions in the decentralized business level have offered new opportunities to employee voice and labour-management partnership schemes in developing effective responses at a micro level. From the employee’s point of view, the main danger that the unions face is the following: changes that have emerged during the pandemic could foster crucial reforms in the industrial relations system without the adoption of a bi-partite approach. Given that the unions’ role in collective bargaining at the sectoral and enterprise level have been weakened during the pandemic, they should regard Covid-19 as a wake-up call for advancing both labour and social agenda. The goals of that agenda for resilience and empowerment in the context of the Covid-19 crisis are to negotiate social dialogue pacts in order to: a) promote fundamental worker rights, including the right to disconnect; b) strengthen partnership mechanisms; c) build knowledge and capacity; d) increase representation capacity e) foster worker’s main priorities and f) provide new services to trade union members. To sum up, the main stakes in this pandemic are the following: a) ensure the health and safety of the workforce; b) foster skill improvements by bi-partite or/and tri-partite partnerships; c) confront the psychological consequences of lockdown and social distancing measures on employees; d) protect the workers’ income during the Covid-19 pandemic; and e) invent new ways of ensuring the implementation of labour legislation and collective agreements using labour inspectorate institutions and/or alternative worker grievance mechanisms.

5. Assessment of HR role during Covid-19 period

HR departments mediate in the relationship between the employer and the employee ensuring the balanced share of the burdens and the welfare of both. HR departments handle employee relation issues including the job security during lockdown, the payment system during the lockdown period and the payment of work at home, the share of job burden among employees, any special payout system for overwork from home, managing performance of employees during lockdown period, employee layoffs, retention of employees, and employee engagement (Acharya and Koirala, 2020). HR Departments need to adjust, modify and reestablish practices, procedures and policies as workplace management and organizational structures cannot be the same. HR management now can take advantage of technologies and transform its function implementing systems of e-recruitment, e-selection, e-learning and e-development of employees, e-performance management especially for reviewing the performance of employees working remotely, and e-compensation. HR departments need to focus on high involvement practices that allow employees to work remotely and gain more autonomy. High involvement HR practices engage employees and the lack of physical presence at workplace in combination to autonomy and fewer traditional controls and restrictions can further encourage more participatory relationships (Kooij, 2020). Adonu, Opuni and Dorkenoo (2020), propose a framework that updates and modifies existing HR practices to face the changes that brought Covid-19 pandemic. The framework suggests: a. modification of work policy, employment contracts and employee skills; b. establishment of result monitoring systems, digital work platforms and welfare and safety units and c. practice of need needs assessment, employee engagement and communication and feedback. HR department could help in spreading a positive image of the Organization through the inspiration of creativity and by supporting leaders, and could contribute in organizational resilience building. The HR function can assist leaders during Covid-19 pandemic crisis playing a strategic role and organization leaders can now rely more on HR, and this ensures a seat of HR function on the strategic table.

6. Discussion

Covid-19 seems to have affected the way of employees and management meet as the meetings require measures of protection against the virus. Tele –working may hinder employee voice and the pandemic situation brought changes to the daily life of employees. The main changes are insecurity, cautiousness and fear. The pandemic has led to a lack of information on employee issues and also created misinformation and misunderstandings. Generally, employees interested in having a voice in Organizations are difficult to be adequately heard. Employee voice is more difficult to be heard due to pandemic, especially when there is no physical presence in the workplace. Employers and employees seem to be worried about the effects of the pandemic on their Organizations. We suggest that Organizations need to manage external crisis and remain adaptive and alert, and find solutions to problems and challenges arising due to coronavirus. Business need reorganization and employees need to adapt ways of working remotely. It is more probable for younger people to switch to remote work as they are more likely to hold the necessary skills. Pandemic seems to have change the nature of remote work in the long-term, the factors affecting work from home, and the employee performance of working from home. Human Resource Management should focus in helping employee’s well-being and adjustment to the new working environment. Besides, HR managers, HR consultants and employees need to rethink, redesign, redefine their roles, adopt new practices and think out of the box. Legal aspects on employee relations due to Covid-19 should also be taken into consideration as protecting the employees in workplace introducing preventing measures that protect employees from being infected by the virus as safety and hygiene rules, keeping safety distances, avoiding physical meetings, smart-working and tele-working. Among the crucial issues that arise and need to be handled is also personal data protection of employees. We recommend that for effective employee relations during the pandemic it is essential to advance effective communication, take advantage of technology to stay connected to management, clients and colleagues, be committed to specific goals and targets, avoid misunderstandings and maintain employee’s morale high. Covid-19 is a period that created changes that need to be accepted and managed. Leaders and HR Executives need to engage employees in different duties and constructive activities maintaining them productive, engaged and committed to the Organizations. It is vital that Organizations take care of employee’s mental health emanating from COVID-19 phenomena and general lockdown. Additionally, Organizations need to provide safe working environments, establish peer education and create initiatives such as counseling services to reduce fear and insecurity and enhance health and wellbeing of employees.

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